TOTAL, BAFFLING mystery... Where in the world did these newborn chicks come from?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by HJECG, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. HJECG

    HJECG Out Of The Brooder

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    So I have a small flock of 6 backyard hens - all that are allowed by ordinance in my Tennessee city. No roosters are allowed either. After taking some time to figure out exactly what breeds I want , and after some chicken-swappping with local chicken friends, I now have two Silkie hens (both aged about 9-14 months old, and one of whom is laying well.) I also have one 12 month old Easter Egger who is also laying very well, even in this bitterly cold weath

    Approximately 2 or 3 weeks ago, I added two 16-20 weeks Marans from the same breeder. One is a Blue Splash and one is a Blue Copper Marans. Neither of these teenage Marans have laid yet, and they both look very adolescent and gangly. They're definitely hens.

    To add another data point, I have just built a small chicken barn, and two days ago I created two new nest boxes inside the barn using covered Rubbermaid boxes with holes cut in the front of each box. The new nestboxes sit on the floor.The hens freerange around our large, securely fenced (8 foot wooden fence) yard each day. They also lay in two other small, freestanding coops in our yard, both of which have nice nestboxes.

    I collect eggs each day, often several times a day. Yesterday, however, I was gone from home from 8 am until 8 pm. When I got home, it was raining, and all the hens were inside their little chicken barn. All of the hens were up on the roost except for the new Blue Copper Marans pullet. She was huddled in the corner of the floor of the barn, outside the nest boxes. She looked very upset. I lifted her up onto the roost, and that's when I heard a little "cheep cheep cheep" coming from somewhere in the small chicken barn. I was totally freaked out, so I called my husband out in the rain and dark, and sure enough, he also heard what sounded like baby chicks.

    We opened the top of one of the new covered Rubbermaid hen boxes on the floor of the little barn, and to our huge surprise , there were two tiny yellow newborn chicks, along with one briwn one with a white dot on its head. They were totally alone in the nestbox and looked very cold. They still had dried egg yolk stuck to them, but no chipped eggs seems to be around.

    Jon and I just stood there in shock. Where did these chicks come from? We definitely DO NOT have a rooster. No way, no how do we have a rooster. Did these chicks come from the two newer very young Marans pullets? But if so, why haven't they been sitting on them in the 2-3 weeks since we brought them home? How could they have hatched without a mother sitting on them? Could a hen have moved them from somewhere else in the yard? Is that even possible?

    Since no hen seemed to be showing any interest in these poor babies, we wrapped them right up and set them up indoors in a makeshift brooder. I've never raised chicks in a brooder before and have no idea what type of lighting to use. They seem to be doing okay this morning wiith a hanging 100 wt light, but do I need to get some other type of lighting for them? Can the lighting stay on 24/7?

    AND WHERE THE HECK DID THESE BABY CHICKS COME FROM?????

    I am absolutely baffled. We've scoured the yard, and did find a few broken eggs here and there, but no other baby chicks.

    This is truly a mystery, and I would really welcome any and all ideas you more experienced chicken folks have for where the chicks came from. Who are their mother and fatther? And how did they end up all alone in that cold, lonely nest box?



    Edited by HJECG - Today at 11:07 am
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Could someone who knows you have chickens put them there? Someone with a surprise hatch of their own that they didn't want? Do you know for sure all of your chickens were in every night and you didn't have a broody hiding somewhere? (Not sure how she could have had fertile eggs, though, unless you have a secret rooster in your neighborhood that has been hopping your fence). It all seems somewhat suspicious to me.

    As far as how to take care of them. You'll know if you need a different heat source by watching them. When I've had chicks in the house, I've used a 100 watt bulb with no problems. Just keep an eye on them. If they're huddled under the light, they need more heat. Lower the light or get a stronger bulb. If they're crowding to get away from it, it's too warm. Raise the bulb a bit. If they seem content and are just hangin' around, eating, drinking and peeping contentedly, they're fine. I'd love to hear if you solve your mystery!
     
  3. Njinja

    Njinja Out Of The Brooder

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    In your chicken swapping, does one of your chicken friends have a rooster? Hens have sperm nests in their reproductive tract which can keep spermatoza alive for up to a month. I had a similar (pleasnt) surprise when about 6 weeks after I sold my rooster one of my hens who hid her nest very well hatched 11 chicks! With only one loss, mother and babies are doing very well! Now I just need to procure another rooster.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Someone had to have brooded them, and my bet is on a silkie. They could have brooded them elsewhere and moved them, but you'd have noticed a hen missing at night.

    Do you have pictures of your flock? and pics of the chicks?
     
  5. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WOW.... What a surprise for you!! Had to be either what was offered above, one of your new hens came from a place that had a Roo, a Roo is hoping your fence or somebody dropped them off.. What a cool surprise tho!!
     
  6. HJECG

    HJECG Out Of The Brooder

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    Update! One of our Silkies has adopted all 3 babies and they're doing great!they Are living in the house in a repurposed guinea pig cage with lights for warmth :) [​IMG]
     
  7. HJECG

    HJECG Out Of The Brooder

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    Mama Sikie and "her" babies!

    [​IMG]
     
  8. HJECG

    HJECG Out Of The Brooder

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    My 6 year old and her favorite chick :)

    [​IMG]
     
  9. HJECG

    HJECG Out Of The Brooder

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    I count my hens every night at bedtime. Is it possible that one of the newer hens had fertile eggs and was hiding them in the straw somewhere in the chicken barn, and then freaked out when they hatched and abandoned them?
     
  10. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    I love happy endings. [​IMG]
     

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